BUTTERFLIES AREN’T JUST FOR SUMMER
By Ann Evans
Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography
It’s a sure sign of summer when we see butterflies flitting around our gardens. But as summer is still a long way off, you can get a taste of hot summer days by visiting the Stratford Butterfly Farm, in Warwickshire.
It really is just like stepping into a tropical rainforest, with the sounds, the humid heat, the exotic plants, the pools, cascading water and the hundreds of beautiful butterflies that flutter freely around you.
Last year the Stratford Butterfly Farm was again awarded the prestigious ‘Certificate of Excellence’ Award by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website, for the fourth year running. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, so you can be sure of an excellent experience there.
Jane Kendrick, Marketing Manager at the Stratford Butterfly Farm said, “Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the fourth year running is an immense source of pride for the entire team. We would like to thank all of our visitors that have taken the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor. The accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”
The Butterfly Farm opened its doors for the first time in 1985 by David Bellamy and now 30 years on remains the UK’s largest and most successful butterfly farm. There are around 250 different species of tropical butterfly from 20 different countries. And you’ll experience around 1,500 individual butterflies flying freely, and feeding from the plants and fruits.
Some of these butterflies are bred at the Stratford Butterfly Farm and others are imported from the tropics. All the butterflies are from conservation projects or village projects, where butterfly breeding is the main source of income for the villagers. Breeding operations have been set up to enable communities to earn a living without causing damage to the environment or the wildlife.
During the spring half term from Saturday 13 – Sunday 21 February there will be an increase in the number of stunning butterflies flying within the flight area. Normally there are around 1,500 butterflies but this will increase to over 2,000 due to the longer daylight hours and careful sourcing from the butterfly farmers in the tropics.
The Farm is also hosting a number of activities for younger visitors including ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions each day at 11:30am and 1:30pm so children can get up close and handle insects such as a Giant African Millipede, African Land Snail and Stick insects. Children of all ages can also follow the Jungle Explorers Trail to discover interesting facts about the amazing creatures that inhabit the Farm.
There’s plenty of other reasons to visit the Butterfly Farm. Behind the safety of glass tanks are an array of Tarantulas in Arachnoland including the Brazilian Fire Red. The tarantula is native to South America and can grow up to 25cm in length.
Over in Insect City, visitors can admire a Royal Python Snake which originates from Africa and is so named because rulers in Africa would wear the python as jewellery. And look out for ‘Archie’, the Farms resident veiled Chameleon, tropical non-insectivorous birds who feed on fruit and seeds, and an iguana or two.
For more information visit the website at www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone on 01789 299288.